Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.
Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.
When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt’s primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.
With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.My thoughts: The book (technically an e-book for my Sony Reader) was an enjoyable read but I admit to being somewhat disappointed. The saying "you can't judge a book by it's cover" probably applies well here. I loved the cover of this book! I love historical romance and the cover just made it look like a well-written, well-developed story. And though it was definitely an enjoyable and easy-going read, I just felt like it didn't do enough with the potential that was there.
I thought that both Wyatt and Ada's stories had more potential than the author took advantage of. If they had been fleshed out more it would have made the characters more realistic and the reader more empathetic. Both of the main characters are extremely likable, but some of Ada's decisions are not clearly explained and therefore seem slightly unbelievable, like they were made for the sake of the fairly predictable storyline.
I did like the whole millinery angle as I have a minor fascination with hats (though I rarely wear them myself, and certainly not the styles described in the book), so I found that intriguing. I also felt that the book did a good job of describing the tension between the north/south and the emotions and aftereffects plaguing both "sides" after the end of the war. I just felt that Wyatt and Ada's characters themselves could have been more well-developed.
Thank you to Booksneeze for providing me with my complimentary e-book review copy of Dorothy Love's Beyond All Measure.